Dynamo chief plays down anti-Semitic slurs in stadium
MOSCOW - Last night's post-game press conference began with a dramatic statement by Hapoel Jerusalem spokesman Gidi Davidi: "We thank Dynamo Moscow for hosting us, but we also expect ULEB to take action against the racist phenomena and slurs against the Jewish people that we encountered here," Davidi said.
On hearing Davidi's remarks, Dynamo president Yevgeny Gomelski, a Jew himself, rushed to join the press conference and accused Hapoel of suffering from a persecution complex.
"We warned our fans more than once - nothing racist, nothing anti-Semitic," Gomelski said. "There is always some kind of a problem with the Israelis, and they are trying to justify a loss. We are a much better team, and that's why we won. I have coached in Israel; I know that there are hundreds of thousands of coaches there and six million prime ministers. We were simply better, and now they are looking for excuses to justify the loss."
Anti-Semitic slurs were indeed heard here and there in the arena last night, and a banner raised behind the Hapoel bench in the fourth quarter depicted a caricature of a Jew with a long nose and the words: "We will hang you, dirty."
On the game itself, Jerusalem coach Erez Edelstein had the following to say: "I feel like we missed out, but Dynamo was better. We had a great European season, and we're proud of the way that we played. We had some fantastic battles. You can't win in Moscow when they go to the line 38 times and you only 10. Dynamo is an excellent team and played better, but we could have pulled it off if we had made two or three more shots at the right time when we were making our comeback."
Winning coach Dusan Ivkovic was very pleased with his team's performance: "We won the ULEB Cup semifinal. It was a very good game tonight on a high level. Nothing was surprising for me, only one moment, when Erez Edelstein put Tapiro on the floor in the starting five to strengthen their offense. But we played great defense, and we were successful in stopping Jenkins and Mason. It was the key to victory, and we did it! After the first quarter, the game became more balanced, but Mario Austin gave us a lot of problems, scoring 34 points. I don't care who will be our opponent in the final - Hemofarm or Aris. Anyway, we'll seriously prepare for the final."